How did finding my pelvic floor  . . . 

. . .  make my shoulder better? . . . 

I recently met a new member of my body: my pelvic floor. Until then, the cue to “contract the pelvic floor” only confused me.

I had NEVER felt my pelvic floor in my life.

Now I know why.

Navel-to-spine, or similar cues, prevents a deep inhale from moving all the way “down.” It stops the diaphragm from descending and the posterior / lateral ribs from expanding.

If pressure from the diaphragm never descends, the pelvic floor (PF) never has a chance to relax, expand and accept pressure descending from above (intra-abdominal pressure). It stays concentrically contracted, tight, restricted, stuck.

Plus, posterior pelvic compression from common Pilates cues to wrap the thighs, squeeze the glutes + externally rotate the hips to keep the feet in “V”, worsens pelvic floor tightness.

Tight muscles = weak muscles.

Learning how to “breathe into the pelvic bones” relaxed my pelvic floor. And I could feel it! I was then able to contract the PF up. Basically, how to do a Kegel. 

But to do a proper Kegel or pelvic floor contraction, you have to first let it go through a full, 360° diaphragmatic breath. This was the crucial missing part.

Before a muscle can contract, it has to lengthen.

Set Up

  • Start in a comfortable, relaxed Child’s Pose position that doesn’t tense any part of your body: not the hips, TFLs, traps, neck, or low back
  • Release tension in these areas by propping the pelvis up with pillows or the head up with yoga blocks . . . or prop both ends up


  • Inhale into the sacrum, coccyx, sit bones, hip joints and the low back and side ribs
  • Exhale and do the following:

    • Roll the pubis to the coccyx + coccyx to pubis
    • Draw the sit bones together without squeezing the buttocks

      • Pull up in the middle where the lines intersect

  • Repeat

By breathing into the pelvic bones, the pelvic floor relaxes and lengthens. “Pulling up in the middle” where the lines intersect, actively contracts the pelvic floor.

This is a way to start restoring pelvic floor health with your clients without ever saying the words “pelvic floor”!

As the PF contracts, the transversus abdominis (TrA) contracts automatically a key pelvic stabilizer.

Pressure from the thighs against the ribs / abdominals helps direct the breath down into the pelvic floor and into the lateral + posterior ribs (where we need it) and NOT into the belly.

  • Do one repetition of the above PF contraction in the Knee Stretches Round position to prepare for the exercise

    • Make sure to get a deep, full inhale before exhaling + contracting

      • Then, let the pelvic floor release naturally to perform the exercise
  • Do not hold the PF contraction when moving! No! No! No!

    • We want the PF to ebb + flow naturally with the breath that’s the goal
  • Practice strengthening the PF in Child’s Pose (and similar exercises) so we don’t have to think about it when doing Pilates

With time, the PF + TrAs will become responsive, strong + supple and show up for you when you need them . . . automatically.

By finally getting a full, 360° inhale + letting it “go down” to lengthen + relax my PF, a cascade chain of wonderful events occurred:


  1. Compressed posterior PF muscles + low, posterior pelvic tissue released;
  2. Stiffness decreased in the lumbar paraspinals (erector spinae) + lumbar spine;
  3. Center of gravity shifted more posteriorly; and
  4. Rib cage suppleness increased.

This allowed me to better stack my rib cage with the pelvis and improve my alignment!

Alignment is the underlying key to improving mobility and strength in any joint.

In this case, it was my troublesome shoulder that reaped the unintended benefits of pain relief, mobility +  strength from finding my pelvic floor allowing me to perform Knee Stretches (and other Pilates exercises) with greater ease.

Cherry on top a more balanced, relaxed + pliable Pilates C-Curve.